Date posted: May 24, 2011
The National Association of Secondary School Principals has issued an important position statement calling for the thoughtful use of social media and mobile devices and a gradual reduction of filtering.
In doing so NASSP recognizes that, in an increasingly mobile and connected world, these technologies and applications can have significant educational value as tools for learning. Today’s students are immersed in the digital world outside of school, and blanket bans of technology, overly harsh filters, and limited access to school-provided equipment and connectivity make what goes on inside of schools seem increasingly disconnected to anything the students experience in real life.
It’s no wonder that kids are routinely using mobile devices, even in schools where cell phones are prohibited. But while meeting kids where they are is an important part of teaching, forcing education to conform to students’ every wish and whim is not. Technology has its place in the classroom and, like every other teaching strategy and tool, should be used thoughtfully and appropriately. That’s where some of the details of the NASSP position statement come in. The use of mobile technology is grounded in a set of “guiding principles” and recommendations based in research, learning theory, and common sense. These points lay out the important purposes for using mobile technology and provide a pathway for administrators to create new policies and an appropriate school culture to take best advantage of what these tools have to offer.
Schools are the logical place for kids to learn about responsible behaviors in digital spaces yet, too often, restrictive policies prevent students, teachers, and administrators from accessing the very platforms they most need to learn about. Some intriguing experiments are going on in schools that have opened their networks up, allowed students to bring their own technology, have embraced teaching digital citizenship across the curriculum and in every grade. These schools may be beacons pointing to the future of education and the NASSP’s statement may just be spark that starts a movement.
What is particularly heartening in the statement is the focus on educators both modeling and teaching students appropriate and effective behavior. NASSP addresses preventing bullying, sexting, and other safety issues, but also calls for advocating and modeling “values that are essential in a civil and democratic society.”
Sounds a lot like digital citizenship to me. And it sounds like very promising model on which to base a shift in school policies.
Using Mobile and Social Technologies in Schools NASSP, May 2011.